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Balzac, Second Study for Nude F (Balzac, deuxième étude pour le Nu F)

European Art

This is likely one of the final nude studies for the figure beneath the drapery in the completed Balzac monument. Instead of an aging, dissipated body, which the commission had criticized, Rodin turned to a more athletic and muscular figure. That he sought to portray a very specific conception of genius is evident in his decision to make the author’s right hand grip his erect penis, explicitly equating male sexual virility with artistic creativity. Balzac surely would have agreed: his wife recalled a letter in which he had once explained that he prepared himself to write his novels by “masturbating his brain.”
MEDIUM Bronze
  • Place Made: France
  • DATES 1896; cast 1979
    DIMENSIONS 37 x 16 x 15 1/2 in. (94 x 40.6 x 39.4 cm)  (show scale)
    MARKINGS Base: ".Georges Rudier./.Fondeur-Paris."
    SIGNATURE Base: "A. Rodin"
    COLLECTIONS European Art
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 84.77.10
    EDITION Edition: 7/12
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Iris and B. Gerald Cantor
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Auguste Rodin (French, 1840-1917). Balzac, Second Study for Nude F (Balzac, deuxième étude pour le Nu F), 1896; cast 1979. Bronze, 37 x 16 x 15 1/2 in. (94 x 40.6 x 39.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Iris and B. Gerald Cantor, 84.77.10. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 84.77.10_bw.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 84.77.10_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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